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Woman accused of drawing racist image speaks out

Posted at 10:13 PM, Apr 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-14 07:56:14-04

The woman behind a photo that has now gone viral is defending herself, after one of her customers at Guercio & Sons Supermarket says she called him a monkey, and then drew a monkey on his sandwich wrapper.

"That was a smiley face, it was not a monkey," said Cynthia Passanisi. "That's how I draw mine...I'm sorry I'm not an artist."

Passanisi has worked at Guercio & Sons for two years, and doesn't understand why these allegations are being made.

"When I was in front of the store and he was at the register, I was standing with Christian and he turned around and said he was a Gorilla. I didn't say that, I said 'that's not nice and I'm not racist," she said.

She says she regularly waits on John Washington who works for PUSH Buffalo.

"He is so nice, why would I have anything bad to say about him?"

Washington disagrees.

"Well I think she's lying. She did call me a monkey," said Washington. "There's multiple people who have acknowledged that she did that multiple times."

Passanisi was fired from her job. She says she found that out by watching the news.

"I can't even go outside because I feel that the finger is being pointed at me," she said.

"I think it's clear what she drew," Washington said.